Choose your own bitter pill

I found some really good videos on YouTube, but they are all downers. I don’t know if it’s wise to watch so much sadness and suffering in one go, so I suggest choosing a single theme from the following:
1. Sadistic dolphin killings in Wakayama, Japan
“Each year, the idyllic and peaceful setting of the village of Taiji in southern Japan is shattered by almost unspeakable cruelty as incredible pain and ultimate death is inflicted on defenseless dolphins.” I actually had no idea that this was taking place so close to where I lived – it’s in Wakayama… If I had known that just a couple years ago…
Dolphin Massacre in Japan
and
Japanese Massacre – Dolphin killing in Taiji Japan
FUCK cultural preservation and FUCK the limpdick Japanese government for not stepping up to these sadistic rednecks – this is just wrong.

2. Thai Brides – A glimpse into the system

“Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends is a television documentary series, in which Louis Theroux gives viewers the chance to get brief glimpses of things they wouldn’t normally come into contact with. In most cases this means interviewing people with extreme beliefs of some kind, or just generally belonging to subcultures not known to exist by most or just frowned upon.” Louis Theroux is the youngest son of famed travel writer Paul Theroux and this episode exposes some pretty pitiful circumstances and individuals.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
That said, I’d buy Lake Palmer a beer anytime.

50 Years of Skyline

sky2000gtr_b.jpg
If the grand tour of Japan proposed on this Nissan page doesn’t include a couple of timed laps around the Osaka sotokanjo, it just ain’t worth doing. I remember one of the early Japanese car magazines that featured a reader’s photo corner where you could send in copies of your speeding tickets – the reader with the highest recorded speed won some sort of prize. Ah, those were the days (before 50+ kmph over speeding tickets cost you your license plus a night in jail).

Banks and Blades and Monster Geckos

One of the coolest things about rural Thailand is the prevalence of bladed tool vendors outside of banks and government building selling scythes, spades, hatchets, axes, machetes, and cooking knives of all sizes and types. I went to the tax office with some Japanese teachers last week and as they waited in line inside, I was just outside the window closest to the tax clerks, handling what could basically be desribed as a ghetto battle axe, with a rusty, roughly machined blade welded to a steel pipe that served as a handle. I don’t know if the clerks saw me outside in my adolescent dwarf warrior state, but when I went in they let me cut to the front of the line…
This morning I bought a big ghetto cleaver with a big hole cut in the blade to hang it from a nail on the wall, just before I went inside Kasikorn Bank to pay the monthly on my car. The security guard saw me test the blade with my thumb, make the purchase, and stroll into the bank and didn’t bat an eye… Which is kind of amazing since if all I had was a nightstick and someone pulled this on me, I’d wail like a beleaguered bitch and surrender my castle:

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Of course, it bears asking if the monster living under the eaves of my house is going to be impressed:

I’m guessing: Not!
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BONUS TOKAY GECKO (Latin: Gekko Gecko @ Linnaeus, 1758) TRIVIA:

  • “Tokays are the least lovable of the geckos. They are known for their nasty temperament, cheerfully biting the hand that feeds, cleans or otherwise comes into anything resembling close proximity to them.” (link)
  • Vietnam vets know Tokay Geckos as “fuck you” lizards (link), due to their mating calls (which last all goddamn night, believe me)

A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

Old news, but:

Diamond Age, based on Neal Stephenson’s best-selling novel The Diamond Age: Or a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, is a six-hour miniseries from Clooney and fellow executive producer Grant Heslov of Smokehouse Productions.
When a prominent member of society concludes that the futuristic civilization in which he lives is stifling creativity, he commissions an interactive book for his daughter that serves as a guide through a surreal alternate world. Stephenson will adapt his novel for the miniseries, the first time the Hugo and Nebula award winner has written for TV. “

Clooney, you say? As in, George Clooney? Um, yep.
And to think I was going to call my future daughter Nell…